MLBAM comes down on the Yankee Universe

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The Yankee Universe is a blog run by some guys I know. It’s also the name of the Yankees’ little Red Sox Nation wannabe fanclub.  You can see where this is heading:

Accordingly, demand is hereby made that you immediately cease and
desist from using the YANKEE UNIVERSE name and the Logo, any other
Yankees Mark and any other MLB mark in and as the name of your Website,
to promote the Website, to seek advertising any other commercial
opportunities, in and as the Domain Name, and in any other manner that
would cause consumer confusion, dilution of the MLB Marks, or imply any
sponsorship or endorsement of your Website or its contents by any MLB
Entity.

I’m not going to carve up this C&D letter like I did the Sizemore one the other day for the simple reason that there’s not that much silly about it. It’s a well-written letter, MLBAM is not really over the top with it, and in my legal opinion they’re not 100% out to lunch. Even if the blog has actively used the name longer, the baseball team registered the name “Yankee Universe” before the blog got going.  While I’m not an intellectual property expert, I imagine that there’s a pretty good argument against someone else using that particular name.

I’m less impressed with the team’s claim that the blog can’t use the word “Yankees” in their title in any way. For practical reasons more than legal ones. For one thing it’s just bad P.R.  You know the argument by now: the blog makes no money off of it, it’s a place where people go to get more excited about the Yankee brand, not less, and allowing them to use the name is a good thing for fandom at large. Of course, given how many other non-affiliated, team-specific blogs there are out there that have yet to raise the ire of MLBAM, one has to assume that the league is throwing this in along with the “Yankees Universe” beef as opposed to being upset about it in and of itself.

While Yankees Universe have put a non-affiliation disclaimer on the the blog and have taken down actual Yankees trademarks and logos and stuff, I’m told that they aren’t going to take this lying down. They’re talking to lawyers and will be firing back a response soon.  Stay tuned.

Report: Cardinals are scouting Cuban outfielder Luis Robert

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 25: Baseballs sit in the St. Louis Cardinals dugout prior to a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 25, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
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According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.

There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.

Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.

Cubs extend Pedro Strop through 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25:  Pedro Strop #46 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game One of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported over the weekend that the Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop agreed to a contract extension. He’ll remain with the Cubs through 2018 and the new deal includes a club option for the 2019 season as well. Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Strop will earn $5.85 million in 2018 and the club option is worth $6.25 million with a $500,000 buyout. The two sides already avoided arbitration earlier this month, agreeing on a $5.5 million salary for the 2017 season.

Strop, 31, has been a very reliable reliever for the Cubs over the last three years. He has a combined 2.65 ERA with 212 strikeouts and 69 walks over 176 1/3 innings in that span of time.

The Cubs replaced Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis, so Strop and Hector Rondon will be bridging the gap to Davis this coming season.

Strop joined the Cubs along with Jake Arrieta in the July 2013 trade that sent Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. That trade panned out well for the Cubs.